Hey! That guy sounds just like …

Published 10:30 am Friday, March 20, 2015

Actor: 1 (noun) a person whose profession is acting on the stage, in movies, or on television. 2 (geek) Voice Actor – the genius behind the voices in our heads from our favorite anime or cartoon.

When you hear the word “Actor” the image that immediately pops to mind may be of a classical trained thespian in Shakespearian robes reciting verse. Or it may be of one of the great black and white actors of the early 20th century. Or possibly it’s of the celebrated actors of today’s big screen.

In my mind, the image is of a stuffed donkey, a wisecracking robot, or talking mice.

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I speak, of course of voice actors. For the past 6 years, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some of my childhood heroes at the anime and comic convention, MechaCon in New Orleans. These actors are tasked with the same responsibility as  other actors: portray the character they play as best to match the writer’s and director’s vision for the scene. Except voice actors don’t get to use their face to show emotion. It’s all in the voice.

Some would argue that this form of acting is easier than traditional acting, to which I would reply “UH UH!” The voice actor is usually called on to voice several characters in a show, but each has to be an individual with their own mannerisms and lives. It’s like if Johnny Depp played Jack Sparrow, Davy Jones, and Elizabeth Swan in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” I’m not saying he couldn’t, just that it would be pretty hard to pull off convincingly.

It’s amazing the diversity of the roles these people are called to play. For example, Bubbles from “Power Puff Girls,” Raven from “Teen Titans Go,” and Truffles from “Chowder” are all the same wonderful actor, Tara Strong. Didn’t recognize those roles? Here’s a mind blower: Eeyore the Donkey from “Winnie the Pooh” was originally voiced by Optimus Prime’s voice actor Peter Cullen, who still voices Optimus Prime today.

Pick up your jaws on the way out. Class dismissed.